StrongVPN

StrongVPN is a virtual private network (VPN) service provider. A VPN is a service that encrypts a device’s internet connection and routes it through a server in a location of the user’s choosing. This can be used to protect the user’s privacy and security online, as well as to access content that may be restricted in their location. StrongVPN offers a range of VPN plans and features, including support for multiple devices, unlimited bandwidth, and a variety of security protocols. The company is based in the United States and has been in operation since 2005.

StrongVPN, formerly Black Oak Computers / Reliable Hosting / Overplay, is owned by Ziff Davis (formerly J2 Global) who owns NetProtect who operates IPVanish as well as StrongVPN.

Is StrongP2P safe for torrenting?

In the book Resistance, Liberation Technology and Human Rights in the Digital Age by Giovanni Ziccardi, he writes:

This company did not directly answer questions but pointed to their logkeeping policy instead. StrongVPN do log and are able to match an external IP address to their subscribers. They were the most outwardly aggressive provider in the survey when it came to dealing with infringement. “StrongVPN does not restrict P2P usage, but please note sharing of Copyrighted materials is forbidden, please do not do this or we will have to take action against your account”

“StrongVPN Notice: You may NOT distribute copyright-protected material through our network. We may cancel your account if that happens.”

Privacy Policy

The StrongVPN privacy policy is reasonably transparent and does not appear to have any major contradictions. However, a few aspects stand out as potential privacy concerns:

  • They collect email addresses, payment information, names, credit cards, and billing addresses to create accounts. This is quite a bit of personal information.
  • They use cookies and allow third party cookies for analytics and functionality. Users have to opt out of each third party cookie separately.
  • They may send marketing and promotional emails, requiring users to actively unsubscribe.
  • They disclaim warranties and liability, reducing accountability.
  • Users have to take multiple steps to exercise data rights like deletion. StrongVPN can retain data if needed for legal reasons.
  • They can monitor, restrict, or suspend accounts without notice for any reason. This could enable unfettered surveillance.
  • Data can be shared across their corporate group and third party processors quite freely.
  • Data is transferred internationally, with some protection measures. Local laws may differ.
  • Retention periods are vaguely defined as “necessary” for purposes in the policy.

Overall the policy seems standard for a VPN provider, but the collection of personal information, broad data sharing allowances, and power to monitor/suspend accounts stand out as areas of concern that could impact privacy. The policy meets transparency requirements but still merits careful review by users.

Terms of Service

Users should carefully scrutinize the StrongVPN Terms of Service before signing up for the VPN service. Several clauses in the Terms grant StrongVPN alarming levels of discretion when it comes to monitoring, restricting, and terminating user accounts without notice. Users must agree to binding arbitration and waive rights to class action lawsuits, severely limiting legal recourse options. Additionally, StrongVPN disclaims all warranties and liability on their end, removing accountability for services. The Terms also give StrongVPN broad rights to collect and use customer data with few constraints. Restrictions like prohibiting account sharing among household members seem unnecessarily strict as well.

Overall, the StrongVPN Terms of Service appear heavily stacked against users and in favor of StrongVPN’s interests. Users have little power or recourse under the Terms as written. StrongVPN reserves the right to change the Terms anytime without directly notifying users beyond posting to their website. Those concerned about privacy and accountability are advised to fully review the StrongVPN privacy policy and Terms of Service before subscribing. Important to understand exactly what user data StrongVPN collects, how they use it, and what options users have. Proceed with caution given the broad disclaimers and unilateral power granted to StrongVPN under the Terms of Service.


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